Boom, boom (V)
Herewith, a synchronic and diachronic comparison of the relative size of the provincial public sector in each province, as a share of total employment, over the past decade. The figure is arrived at by dividing the total number of people employed in the provincial civil service, public health care, public education, and public post-secondary education, and dividing into the total employed labour force.
In order to smooth out some seasonal variation, the figures here are the trailing rolling averages of the figure for the previous four quarters. For example, the figure on the right edge of the graph is the average of the four quarters which terminate in, and include, the first quarter of 2010. Note that the latest four-quarter average for Newfoundland and Labrador is 24.1%; slightly lower than the most recent raw quarterly figure of 26.2%, bandied about in the previous postings in this series.
At the bottom are the three “private sector” provinces, BC, Ontario, and Alberta, whose provincial public sectors make up relatively lower proportions of their overall employment force than the other seven.
In the middle is the “main sequence” of six provinces whose provincial public sectors employ between 15% and 20% of the total employed population.
And then there’s the province which, for the entire period under consideration, has had the largest share of its working population working, directly or indirectly, for the provincial taxpayer. While, for much of the first half of the decade, the gap between Newfoundland and Labrador and the middling provinces was slowly narrowing, in 2006 it started to open up again, and dramatically. As noted previously, there has never been a provincial labour force, for as long as statistics have been kept, so reliant on provincial public sector employment.
[The methods used to arrive at the underlying StatsCan data likely mean that there is some element of dividing apples into oranges, but the resulting methodological fallacy will be the same across all provinces, and doesn’t change the relative comparison, which is the main thrust of this chart. Figures are derived from statistics in StatsCan Tables 183-0002 (government employment) and 282-0001 (labour force and employment). If anyone can explain the 2001 “bump” in provincial public sectors, which occurred in about half the provinces, please post a comment.]